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1.  A computational pipeline for the development of multi-marker bio-signature panels and ensemble classifiers 
BMC Bioinformatics  2012;13:326.
Biomarker panels derived separately from genomic and proteomic data and with a variety of computational methods have demonstrated promising classification performance in various diseases. An open question is how to create effective proteo-genomic panels. The framework of ensemble classifiers has been applied successfully in various analytical domains to combine classifiers so that the performance of the ensemble exceeds the performance of individual classifiers. Using blood-based diagnosis of acute renal allograft rejection as a case study, we address the following question in this paper: Can acute rejection classification performance be improved by combining individual genomic and proteomic classifiers in an ensemble?
The first part of the paper presents a computational biomarker development pipeline for genomic and proteomic data. The pipeline begins with data acquisition (e.g., from bio-samples to microarray data), quality control, statistical analysis and mining of the data, and finally various forms of validation. The pipeline ensures that the various classifiers to be combined later in an ensemble are diverse and adequate for clinical use. Five mRNA genomic and five proteomic classifiers were developed independently using single time-point blood samples from 11 acute-rejection and 22 non-rejection renal transplant patients. The second part of the paper examines five ensembles ranging in size from two to 10 individual classifiers. Performance of ensembles is characterized by area under the curve (AUC), sensitivity, and specificity, as derived from the probability of acute rejection for individual classifiers in the ensemble in combination with one of two aggregation methods: (1) Average Probability or (2) Vote Threshold. One ensemble demonstrated superior performance and was able to improve sensitivity and AUC beyond the best values observed for any of the individual classifiers in the ensemble, while staying within the range of observed specificity. The Vote Threshold aggregation method achieved improved sensitivity for all 5 ensembles, but typically at the cost of decreased specificity.
Proteo-genomic biomarker ensemble classifiers show promise in the diagnosis of acute renal allograft rejection and can improve classification performance beyond that of individual genomic or proteomic classifiers alone. Validation of our results in an international multicenter study is currently underway.
PMCID: PMC3575305  PMID: 23216969
Biomarkers; Computational; Pipeline; Genomics; Proteomics; Ensemble; Classification
2.  A comparison of machine learning algorithms for chemical toxicity classification using a simulated multi-scale data model 
BMC Bioinformatics  2008;9:241.
Bioactivity profiling using high-throughput in vitro assays can reduce the cost and time required for toxicological screening of environmental chemicals and can also reduce the need for animal testing. Several public efforts are aimed at discovering patterns or classifiers in high-dimensional bioactivity space that predict tissue, organ or whole animal toxicological endpoints. Supervised machine learning is a powerful approach to discover combinatorial relationships in complex in vitro/in vivo datasets. We present a novel model to simulate complex chemical-toxicology data sets and use this model to evaluate the relative performance of different machine learning (ML) methods.
The classification performance of Artificial Neural Networks (ANN), K-Nearest Neighbors (KNN), Linear Discriminant Analysis (LDA), Naïve Bayes (NB), Recursive Partitioning and Regression Trees (RPART), and Support Vector Machines (SVM) in the presence and absence of filter-based feature selection was analyzed using K-way cross-validation testing and independent validation on simulated in vitro assay data sets with varying levels of model complexity, number of irrelevant features and measurement noise. While the prediction accuracy of all ML methods decreased as non-causal (irrelevant) features were added, some ML methods performed better than others. In the limit of using a large number of features, ANN and SVM were always in the top performing set of methods while RPART and KNN (k = 5) were always in the poorest performing set. The addition of measurement noise and irrelevant features decreased the classification accuracy of all ML methods, with LDA suffering the greatest performance degradation. LDA performance is especially sensitive to the use of feature selection. Filter-based feature selection generally improved performance, most strikingly for LDA.
We have developed a novel simulation model to evaluate machine learning methods for the analysis of data sets in which in vitro bioassay data is being used to predict in vivo chemical toxicology. From our analysis, we can recommend that several ML methods, most notably SVM and ANN, are good candidates for use in real world applications in this area.
PMCID: PMC2409339  PMID: 18489778
3.  Penalized classification using Fisher’s linear discriminant 
We consider the supervised classification setting, in which the data consist of p features measured on n observations, each of which belongs to one of K classes. Linear discriminant analysis (LDA) is a classical method for this problem. However, in the high-dimensional setting where p ≫ n, LDA is not appropriate for two reasons. First, the standard estimate for the within-class covariance matrix is singular, and so the usual discriminant rule cannot be applied. Second, when p is large, it is difficult to interpret the classification rule obtained from LDA, since it involves all p features. We propose penalized LDA, a general approach for penalizing the discriminant vectors in Fisher’s discriminant problem in a way that leads to greater interpretability. The discriminant problem is not convex, so we use a minorization-maximization approach in order to efficiently optimize it when convex penalties are applied to the discriminant vectors. In particular, we consider the use of L1 and fused lasso penalties. Our proposal is equivalent to recasting Fisher’s discriminant problem as a biconvex problem. We evaluate the performances of the resulting methods on a simulation study, and on three gene expression data sets. We also survey past methods for extending LDA to the high-dimensional setting, and explore their relationships with our proposal.
PMCID: PMC3272679  PMID: 22323898
classification; feature selection; high dimensional; lasso; linear discriminant analysis; supervised learning
4.  A New Method Combining LDA and PLS for Dimension Reduction 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e96944.
Linear discriminant analysis (LDA) is a classical statistical approach for dimensionality reduction and classification. In many cases, the projection direction of the classical and extended LDA methods is not considered optimal for special applications. Herein we combine the Partial Least Squares (PLS) method with LDA algorithm, and then propose two improved methods, named LDA-PLS and ex-LDA-PLS, respectively. The LDA-PLS amends the projection direction of LDA by using the information of PLS, while ex-LDA-PLS is an extension of LDA-PLS by combining the result of LDA-PLS and LDA, making the result closer to the optimal direction by an adjusting parameter. Comparative studies are provided between the proposed methods and other traditional dimension reduction methods such as Principal component analysis (PCA), LDA and PLS-LDA on two data sets. Experimental results show that the proposed method can achieve better classification performance.
PMCID: PMC4018361  PMID: 24820185
5.  Feature weight estimation for gene selection: a local hyperlinear learning approach 
BMC Bioinformatics  2014;15:70.
Modeling high-dimensional data involving thousands of variables is particularly important for gene expression profiling experiments, nevertheless,it remains a challenging task. One of the challenges is to implement an effective method for selecting a small set of relevant genes, buried in high-dimensional irrelevant noises. RELIEF is a popular and widely used approach for feature selection owing to its low computational cost and high accuracy. However, RELIEF based methods suffer from instability, especially in the presence of noisy and/or high-dimensional outliers.
We propose an innovative feature weighting algorithm, called LHR, to select informative genes from highly noisy data. LHR is based on RELIEF for feature weighting using classical margin maximization. The key idea of LHR is to estimate the feature weights through local approximation rather than global measurement, which is typically used in existing methods. The weights obtained by our method are very robust in terms of degradation of noisy features, even those with vast dimensions. To demonstrate the performance of our method, extensive experiments involving classification tests have been carried out on both synthetic and real microarray benchmark datasets by combining the proposed technique with standard classifiers, including the support vector machine (SVM), k-nearest neighbor (KNN), hyperplane k-nearest neighbor (HKNN), linear discriminant analysis (LDA) and naive Bayes (NB).
Experiments on both synthetic and real-world datasets demonstrate the superior performance of the proposed feature selection method combined with supervised learning in three aspects: 1) high classification accuracy, 2) excellent robustness to noise and 3) good stability using to various classification algorithms.
PMCID: PMC4007530  PMID: 24625071
Feature weighting; Local hyperplane; Classification; RELIEF; KNN
6.  Effects of aggregation of drug and diagnostic codes on the performance of the high-dimensional propensity score algorithm: an empirical example 
The High-Dimensional Propensity Score (hd-PS) algorithm can select and adjust for baseline confounders of treatment-outcome associations in pharmacoepidemiologic studies that use healthcare claims data. How hd-PS performance is affected by aggregating medications or medical diagnoses has not been assessed.
We evaluated the effects of aggregating medications or diagnoses on hd-PS performance in an empirical example using resampled cohorts with small sample size, rare outcome incidence, or low exposure prevalence. In a cohort study comparing the risk of upper gastrointestinal complications in celecoxib or traditional NSAIDs (diclofenac, ibuprofen) initiators with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, we (1) aggregated medications and International Classification of Diseases-9 (ICD-9) diagnoses into hierarchies of the Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical classification (ATC) and the Clinical Classification Software (CCS), respectively, and (2) sampled the full cohort using techniques validated by simulations to create 9,600 samples to compare 16 aggregation scenarios across 50% and 20% samples with varying outcome incidence and exposure prevalence. We applied hd-PS to estimate relative risks (RR) using 5 dimensions, predefined confounders, ≤ 500 hd-PS covariates, and propensity score deciles. For each scenario, we calculated: (1) the geometric mean RR; (2) the difference between the scenario mean ln(RR) and the ln(RR) from published randomized controlled trials (RCT); and (3) the proportional difference in the degree of estimated confounding between that scenario and the base scenario (no aggregation).
Compared with the base scenario, aggregations of medications into ATC level 4 alone or in combination with aggregation of diagnoses into CCS level 1 improved the hd-PS confounding adjustment in most scenarios, reducing residual confounding compared with the RCT findings by up to 19%.
Aggregation of codes using hierarchical coding systems may improve the performance of the hd-PS to control for confounders. The balance of advantages and disadvantages of aggregation is likely to vary across research settings.
PMCID: PMC3840608  PMID: 24245772
Aggregation; Anatomical therapeutic chemical classification; Clinical classification software; Confounding by indication; Infrequent exposure; Propensity score; Small sample; Rare outcome
7.  The properties of high-dimensional data spaces: implications for exploring gene and protein expression data 
Nature reviews. Cancer  2008;8(1):37-49.
High-throughput genomic and proteomic technologies are widely used in cancer research to build better predictive models of diagnosis, prognosis and therapy, to identify and characterize key signalling networks and to find new targets for drug development. These technologies present investigators with the task of extracting meaningful statistical and biological information from high-dimensional data spaces, wherein each sample is defined by hundreds or thousands of measurements, usually concurrently obtained. The properties of high dimensionality are often poorly understood or overlooked in data modelling and analysis. From the perspective of translational science, this Review discusses the properties of high-dimensional data spaces that arise in genomic and proteomic studies and the challenges they can pose for data analysis and interpretation.
PMCID: PMC2238676  PMID: 18097463
8.  Multi-resolution independent component analysis for high-performance tumor classification and biomarker discovery 
BMC Bioinformatics  2011;12(Suppl 1):S7.
Although high-throughput microarray based molecular diagnostic technologies show a great promise in cancer diagnosis, it is still far from a clinical application due to its low and instable sensitivities and specificities in cancer molecular pattern recognition. In fact, high-dimensional and heterogeneous tumor profiles challenge current machine learning methodologies for its small number of samples and large or even huge number of variables (genes). This naturally calls for the use of an effective feature selection in microarray data classification.
We propose a novel feature selection method: multi-resolution independent component analysis (MICA) for large-scale gene expression data. This method overcomes the weak points of the widely used transform-based feature selection methods such as principal component analysis (PCA), independent component analysis (ICA), and nonnegative matrix factorization (NMF) by avoiding their global feature-selection mechanism. In addition to demonstrating the effectiveness of the multi-resolution independent component analysis in meaningful biomarker discovery, we present a multi-resolution independent component analysis based support vector machines (MICA-SVM) and linear discriminant analysis (MICA-LDA) to attain high-performance classifications in low-dimensional spaces.
We have demonstrated the superiority and stability of our algorithms by performing comprehensive experimental comparisons with nine state-of-the-art algorithms on six high-dimensional heterogeneous profiles under cross validations. Our classification algorithms, especially, MICA-SVM, not only accomplish clinical or near-clinical level sensitivities and specificities, but also show strong performance stability over its peers in classification. Software that implements the major algorithm and data sets on which this paper focuses are freely available at
This work suggests a new direction to accelerate microarray technologies into a clinical routine through building a high-performance classifier to attain clinical-level sensitivities and specificities by treating an input profile as a ‘profile-biomarker’. The multi-resolution data analysis based redundant global feature suppressing and effective local feature extraction also have a positive impact on large scale ‘omics’ data mining.
PMCID: PMC3044315  PMID: 21342590
9.  Instance-based concept learning from multiclass DNA microarray data 
BMC Bioinformatics  2006;7:73.
Various statistical and machine learning methods have been successfully applied to the classification of DNA microarray data. Simple instance-based classifiers such as nearest neighbor (NN) approaches perform remarkably well in comparison to more complex models, and are currently experiencing a renaissance in the analysis of data sets from biology and biotechnology. While binary classification of microarray data has been extensively investigated, studies involving multiclass data are rare. The question remains open whether there exists a significant difference in performance between NN approaches and more complex multiclass methods. Comparative studies in this field commonly assess different models based on their classification accuracy only; however, this approach lacks the rigor needed to draw reliable conclusions and is inadequate for testing the null hypothesis of equal performance. Comparing novel classification models to existing approaches requires focusing on the significance of differences in performance.
We investigated the performance of instance-based classifiers, including a NN classifier able to assign a degree of class membership to each sample. This model alleviates a major problem of conventional instance-based learners, namely the lack of confidence values for predictions. The model translates the distances to the nearest neighbors into 'confidence scores'; the higher the confidence score, the closer is the considered instance to a pre-defined class. We applied the models to three real gene expression data sets and compared them with state-of-the-art methods for classifying microarray data of multiple classes, assessing performance using a statistical significance test that took into account the data resampling strategy. Simple NN classifiers performed as well as, or significantly better than, their more intricate competitors.
Given its highly intuitive underlying principles – simplicity, ease-of-use, and robustness – the k-NN classifier complemented by a suitable distance-weighting regime constitutes an excellent alternative to more complex models for multiclass microarray data sets. Instance-based classifiers using weighted distances are not limited to microarray data sets, but are likely to perform competitively in classifications of high-dimensional biological data sets such as those generated by high-throughput mass spectrometry.
PMCID: PMC1402330  PMID: 16483361
10.  Transcriptional network classifiers 
BMC Bioinformatics  2009;10(Suppl 9):S1.
Gene interactions play a central role in transcriptional networks. Many studies have performed genome-wide expression analysis to reconstruct regulatory networks to investigate disease processes. Since biological processes are outcomes of regulatory gene interactions, this paper develops a system biology approach to infer function-dependent transcriptional networks modulating phenotypic traits, which serve as a classifier to identify tissue states. Due to gene interactions taken into account in the analysis, we can achieve higher classification accuracy than existing methods.
Our system biology approach is carried out by the Bayesian networks framework. The algorithm consists of two steps: gene filtering by Bayes factor followed by collinearity elimination via network learning. We validate our approach with two clinical data. In the study of lung cancer subtypes discrimination, we obtain a 25-gene classifier from 111 training samples, and the test on 422 independent samples achieves 95% classification accuracy. In the study of thoracic aortic aneurysm (TAA) diagnosis, 61 samples determine a 34-gene classifier, whose diagnosis accuracy on 33 independent samples achieves 82%. The performance comparisons with three other popular methods, PCA/LDA, PAM, and Weighted Voting, confirm that our approach yields superior classification accuracy and a more compact signature.
The system biology approach presented in this paper is able to infer function-dependent transcriptional networks, which in turn can classify biological samples with high accuracy. The validation of our classifier using clinical data demonstrates the promising value of our proposed approach for disease diagnosis.
PMCID: PMC2745680  PMID: 19761563
11.  Prediction of protein-protein interactions from amino acid sequences with ensemble extreme learning machines and principal component analysis 
BMC Bioinformatics  2013;14(Suppl 8):S10.
Protein-protein interactions (PPIs) play crucial roles in the execution of various cellular processes and form the basis of biological mechanisms. Although large amount of PPIs data for different species has been generated by high-throughput experimental techniques, current PPI pairs obtained with experimental methods cover only a fraction of the complete PPI networks, and further, the experimental methods for identifying PPIs are both time-consuming and expensive. Hence, it is urgent and challenging to develop automated computational methods to efficiently and accurately predict PPIs.
We present here a novel hierarchical PCA-EELM (principal component analysis-ensemble extreme learning machine) model to predict protein-protein interactions only using the information of protein sequences. In the proposed method, 11188 protein pairs retrieved from the DIP database were encoded into feature vectors by using four kinds of protein sequences information. Focusing on dimension reduction, an effective feature extraction method PCA was then employed to construct the most discriminative new feature set. Finally, multiple extreme learning machines were trained and then aggregated into a consensus classifier by majority voting. The ensembling of extreme learning machine removes the dependence of results on initial random weights and improves the prediction performance.
When performed on the PPI data of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the proposed method achieved 87.00% prediction accuracy with 86.15% sensitivity at the precision of 87.59%. Extensive experiments are performed to compare our method with state-of-the-art techniques Support Vector Machine (SVM). Experimental results demonstrate that proposed PCA-EELM outperforms the SVM method by 5-fold cross-validation. Besides, PCA-EELM performs faster than PCA-SVM based method. Consequently, the proposed approach can be considered as a new promising and powerful tools for predicting PPI with excellent performance and less time.
PMCID: PMC3654889  PMID: 23815620
12.  Estimation of Relevant Variables on High-Dimensional Biological Patterns Using Iterated Weighted Kernel Functions 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(3):e1806.
The analysis of complex proteomic and genomic profiles involves the identification of significant markers within a set of hundreds or even thousands of variables that represent a high-dimensional problem space. The occurrence of noise, redundancy or combinatorial interactions in the profile makes the selection of relevant variables harder.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Here we propose a method to select variables based on estimated relevance to hidden patterns. Our method combines a weighted-kernel discriminant with an iterative stochastic probability estimation algorithm to discover the relevance distribution over the set of variables. We verified the ability of our method to select predefined relevant variables in synthetic proteome-like data and then assessed its performance on biological high-dimensional problems. Experiments were run on serum proteomic datasets of infectious diseases. The resulting variable subsets achieved classification accuracies of 99% on Human African Trypanosomiasis, 91% on Tuberculosis, and 91% on Malaria serum proteomic profiles with fewer than 20% of variables selected. Our method scaled-up to dimensionalities of much higher orders of magnitude as shown with gene expression microarray datasets in which we obtained classification accuracies close to 90% with fewer than 1% of the total number of variables.
Our method consistently found relevant variables attaining high classification accuracies across synthetic and biological datasets. Notably, it yielded very compact subsets compared to the original number of variables, which should simplify downstream biological experimentation.
PMCID: PMC2396875  PMID: 18509521
13.  Expression cartography of human tissues using self organizing maps 
BMC Bioinformatics  2011;12:306.
Parallel high-throughput microarray and sequencing experiments produce vast quantities of multidimensional data which must be arranged and analyzed in a concerted way. One approach to addressing this challenge is the machine learning technique known as self organizing maps (SOMs). SOMs enable a parallel sample- and gene-centered view of genomic data combined with strong visualization and second-level analysis capabilities. The paper aims at bridging the gap between the potency of SOM-machine learning to reduce dimension of high-dimensional data on one hand and practical applications with special emphasis on gene expression analysis on the other hand.
The method was applied to generate a SOM characterizing the whole genome expression profiles of 67 healthy human tissues selected from ten tissue categories (adipose, endocrine, homeostasis, digestion, exocrine, epithelium, sexual reproduction, muscle, immune system and nervous tissues). SOM mapping reduces the dimension of expression data from ten of thousands of genes to a few thousand metagenes, each representing a minicluster of co-regulated single genes. Tissue-specific and common properties shared between groups of tissues emerge as a handful of localized spots in the tissue maps collecting groups of co-regulated and co-expressed metagenes. The functional context of the spots was discovered using overrepresentation analysis with respect to pre-defined gene sets of known functional impact. We found that tissue related spots typically contain enriched populations of genes related to specific molecular processes in the respective tissue. Analysis techniques normally used at the gene-level such as two-way hierarchical clustering are better represented and provide better signal-to-noise ratios if applied to the metagenes. Metagene-based clustering analyses aggregate the tissues broadly into three clusters containing nervous, immune system and the remaining tissues.
The SOM technique provides a more intuitive and informative global view of the behavior of a few well-defined modules of correlated and differentially expressed genes than the separate discovery of the expression levels of hundreds or thousands of individual genes. The program is available as R-package 'oposSOM'.
PMCID: PMC3161046  PMID: 21794127
14.  A comparative study of cell classifiers for image-based high-throughput screening 
BMC Bioinformatics  2014;15(1):342.
Millions of cells are present in thousands of images created in high-throughput screening (HTS). Biologists could classify each of these cells into a phenotype by visual inspection. But in the presence of millions of cells this visual classification task becomes infeasible. Biologists train classification models on a few thousand visually classified example cells and iteratively improve the training data by visual inspection of the important misclassified phenotypes. Classification methods differ in performance and performance evaluation time. We present a comparative study of computational performance of gentle boosting, joint boosting CellProfiler Analyst (CPA), support vector machines (linear and radial basis function) and linear discriminant analysis (LDA) on two data sets of HT29 and HeLa cancer cells.
For the HT29 data set we find that gentle boosting, SVM (linear) and SVM (RBF) are close in performance but SVM (linear) is faster than gentle boosting and SVM (RBF). For the HT29 data set the average performance difference between SVM (RBF) and SVM (linear) is 0.42 %. For the HeLa data set we find that SVM (RBF) outperforms other classification methods and is on average 1.41 % better in performance than SVM (linear).
Our study proposes SVM (linear) for iterative improvement of the training data and SVM (RBF) for the final classifier to classify all unlabeled cells in the whole data set.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2105-15-342) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4287552  PMID: 25336059
15.  Psoriasis prediction from genome-wide SNP profiles 
BMC Dermatology  2011;11:1.
With the availability of large-scale genome-wide association study (GWAS) data, choosing an optimal set of SNPs for disease susceptibility prediction is a challenging task. This study aimed to use single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) to predict psoriasis from searching GWAS data.
Totally we had 2,798 samples and 451,724 SNPs. Process for searching a set of SNPs to predict susceptibility for psoriasis consisted of two steps. The first one was to search top 1,000 SNPs with high accuracy for prediction of psoriasis from GWAS dataset. The second one was to search for an optimal SNP subset for predicting psoriasis. The sequential information bottleneck (sIB) method was compared with classical linear discriminant analysis(LDA) for classification performance.
The best test harmonic mean of sensitivity and specificity for predicting psoriasis by sIB was 0.674(95% CI: 0.650-0.698), while only 0.520(95% CI: 0.472-0.524) was reported for predicting disease by LDA. Our results indicate that the new classifier sIB performs better than LDA in the study.
The fact that a small set of SNPs can predict disease status with average accuracy of 68% makes it possible to use SNP data for psoriasis prediction.
PMCID: PMC3022824  PMID: 21214922
16.  A modified generalized Fisher method for combining probabilities from dependent tests 
Rapid developments in molecular technology have yielded a large amount of high throughput genetic data to understand the mechanism for complex traits. The increase of genetic variants requires hundreds and thousands of statistical tests to be performed simultaneously in analysis, which poses a challenge to control the overall Type I error rate. Combining p-values from multiple hypothesis testing has shown promise for aggregating effects in high-dimensional genetic data analysis. Several p-value combining methods have been developed and applied to genetic data; see Dai et al. (2012b) for a comprehensive review. However, there is a lack of investigations conducted for dependent genetic data, especially for weighted p-value combining methods. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) are often correlated due to linkage disequilibrium (LD). Other genetic data, including variants from next generation sequencing, gene expression levels measured by microarray, protein and DNA methylation data, etc. also contain complex correlation structures. Ignoring correlation structures among genetic variants may lead to severe inflation of Type I error rates for omnibus testing of p-values. In this work, we propose modifications to the Lancaster procedure by taking the correlation structure among p-values into account. The weight function in the Lancaster procedure allows meaningful biological information to be incorporated into the statistical analysis, which can increase the power of the statistical testing and/or remove the bias in the process. Extensive empirical assessments demonstrate that the modified Lancaster procedure largely reduces the Type I error rates due to correlation among p-values, and retains considerable power to detect signals among p-values. We applied our method to reassess published renal transplant data, and identified a novel association between B cell pathways and allograft tolerance.
PMCID: PMC3929847  PMID: 24600471
generalized Fisher method (Lancaster procedure); weight function; correlated p-values; multiple hypothesis testing; high dimensional genetic data
17.  Analysis of mass spectrometry data from the secretome of an explant model of articular cartilage exposed to pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory stimuli using machine learning 
Osteoarthritis (OA) is an inflammatory disease of synovial joints involving the loss and degeneration of articular cartilage. The gold standard for evaluating cartilage loss in OA is the measurement of joint space width on standard radiographs. However, in most cases the diagnosis is made well after the onset of the disease, when the symptoms are well established. Identification of early biomarkers of OA can facilitate earlier diagnosis, improve disease monitoring and predict responses to therapeutic interventions.
This study describes the bioinformatic analysis of data generated from high throughput proteomics for identification of potential biomarkers of OA. The mass spectrometry data was generated using a canine explant model of articular cartilage treated with the pro-inflammatory cytokine interleukin 1 β (IL-1β). The bioinformatics analysis involved the application of machine learning and network analysis to the proteomic mass spectrometry data. A rule based machine learning technique, BioHEL, was used to create a model that classified the samples into their relevant treatment groups by identifying those proteins that separated samples into their respective groups. The proteins identified were considered to be potential biomarkers. Protein networks were also generated; from these networks, proteins pivotal to the classification were identified.
BioHEL correctly classified eighteen out of twenty-three samples, giving a classification accuracy of 78.3% for the dataset. The dataset included the four classes of control, IL-1β, carprofen, and IL-1β and carprofen together. This exceeded the other machine learners that were used for a comparison, on the same dataset, with the exception of another rule-based method, JRip, which performed equally well. The proteins that were most frequently used in rules generated by BioHEL were found to include a number of relevant proteins including matrix metalloproteinase 3, interleukin 8 and matrix gla protein.
Using this protocol, combining an in vitro model of OA with bioinformatics analysis, a number of relevant extracellular matrix proteins were identified, thereby supporting the application of these bioinformatics tools for analysis of proteomic data from in vitro models of cartilage degradation.
PMCID: PMC3878677  PMID: 24330474
Osteoarthritis; Cartilage; Biomarker; Interleukin 1 β; Carprofen; Bioinformatics; Machine learning
18.  Weighted random subspace method for high dimensional data classification 
Statistics and its interface  2009;2(2):153-159.
High dimensional data, especially those emerging from genomics and proteomics studies, pose significant challenges to traditional classification algorithms because the performance of these algorithms may substantially deteriorate due to high dimensionality and existence of many noisy features in these data. To address these problems, pre-classification feature selection and aggregating algorithms have been proposed. However, most feature selection procedures either fail to consider potential interactions among the features or tend to over fit the data. The aggregating algorithms, e.g. the bagging predictor, the boosting algorithm, the random subspace method, and the Random Forests algorithm, are promising in handling high dimensional data. However, there is a lack of attention to optimal weight assignments to individual classifiers and this has prevented these algorithms from achieving better classification accuracy. In this article, we formulate the weight assignment problem and propose a heuristic optimization solution.
We have applied the proposed weight assignment procedures to the random subspace method to develop a weighted random subspace method. Several public gene expression and mass spectrometry data sets at the Kent Ridge biomedical data repository have been analyzed by this novel method. We have found that significant improvement over the common equal weight assignment scheme may be achieved by our method.
PMCID: PMC3170928  PMID: 21918713
Classification; Aggregating algorithm; Voting weight; Random subspace projection
19.  A high-performance spatial database based approach for pathology imaging algorithm evaluation 
Algorithm evaluation provides a means to characterize variability across image analysis algorithms, validate algorithms by comparison with human annotations, combine results from multiple algorithms for performance improvement, and facilitate algorithm sensitivity studies. The sizes of images and image analysis results in pathology image analysis pose significant challenges in algorithm evaluation. We present an efficient parallel spatial database approach to model, normalize, manage, and query large volumes of analytical image result data. This provides an efficient platform for algorithm evaluation. Our experiments with a set of brain tumor images demonstrate the application, scalability, and effectiveness of the platform.
The paper describes an approach and platform for evaluation of pathology image analysis algorithms. The platform facilitates algorithm evaluation through a high-performance database built on the Pathology Analytic Imaging Standards (PAIS) data model.
(1) Develop a framework to support algorithm evaluation by modeling and managing analytical results and human annotations from pathology images; (2) Create a robust data normalization tool for converting, validating, and fixing spatial data from algorithm or human annotations; (3) Develop a set of queries to support data sampling and result comparisons; (4) Achieve high performance computation capacity via a parallel data management infrastructure, parallel data loading and spatial indexing optimizations in this infrastructure.
Materials and Methods:
We have considered two scenarios for algorithm evaluation: (1) algorithm comparison where multiple result sets from different methods are compared and consolidated; and (2) algorithm validation where algorithm results are compared with human annotations. We have developed a spatial normalization toolkit to validate and normalize spatial boundaries produced by image analysis algorithms or human annotations. The validated data were formatted based on the PAIS data model and loaded into a spatial database. To support efficient data loading, we have implemented a parallel data loading tool that takes advantage of multi-core CPUs to accelerate data injection. The spatial database manages both geometric shapes and image features or classifications, and enables spatial sampling, result comparison, and result aggregation through expressive structured query language (SQL) queries with spatial extensions. To provide scalable and efficient query support, we have employed a shared nothing parallel database architecture, which distributes data homogenously across multiple database partitions to take advantage of parallel computation power and implements spatial indexing to achieve high I/O throughput.
Our work proposes a high performance, parallel spatial database platform for algorithm validation and comparison. This platform was evaluated by storing, managing, and comparing analysis results from a set of brain tumor whole slide images. The tools we develop are open source and available to download.
Pathology image algorithm validation and comparison are essential to iterative algorithm development and refinement. One critical component is the support for queries involving spatial predicates and comparisons. In our work, we develop an efficient data model and parallel database approach to model, normalize, manage and query large volumes of analytical image result data. Our experiments demonstrate that the data partitioning strategy and the grid-based indexing result in good data distribution across database nodes and reduce I/O overhead in spatial join queries through parallel retrieval of relevant data and quick subsetting of datasets. The set of tools in the framework provide a full pipeline to normalize, load, manage and query analytical results for algorithm evaluation.
PMCID: PMC3624706  PMID: 23599905
Algorithm validation; parallel database; pathology imaging; spatial database
20.  Modeling the next generation sequencing sample processing pipeline for the purposes of classification 
BMC Bioinformatics  2013;14:307.
A key goal of systems biology and translational genomics is to utilize high-throughput measurements of cellular states to develop expression-based classifiers for discriminating among different phenotypes. Recent developments of Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) technologies can facilitate classifier design by providing expression measurements for tens of thousands of genes simultaneously via the abundance of their mRNA transcripts. Because NGS technologies result in a nonlinear transformation of the actual expression distributions, their application can result in data that are less discriminative than would be the actual expression levels themselves, were they directly observable.
Using state-of-the-art distributional modeling for the NGS processing pipeline, this paper studies how that pipeline, via the resulting nonlinear transformation, affects classification and feature selection. The effects of different factors are considered and NGS-based classification is compared to SAGE-based classification and classification directly on the raw expression data, which is represented by a very high-dimensional model previously developed for gene expression. As expected, the nonlinear transformation resulting from NGS processing diminishes classification accuracy; however, owing to a larger number of reads, NGS-based classification outperforms SAGE-based classification.
Having high numbers of reads can mitigate the degradation in classification performance resulting from the effects of NGS technologies. Hence, when performing a RNA-Seq analysis, using the highest possible coverage of the genome is recommended for the purposes of classification.
PMCID: PMC3819514  PMID: 24118904
21.  Candidates for Synergies: Linear Discriminants versus Principal Components 
Movement primitives or synergies have been extracted from human hand movements using several matrix factorization, dimensionality reduction, and classification methods. Principal component analysis (PCA) is widely used to obtain the first few significant eigenvectors of covariance that explain most of the variance of the data. Linear discriminant analysis (LDA) is also used as a supervised learning method to classify the hand postures corresponding to the objects grasped. Synergies obtained using PCA are principal component vectors aligned with dominant variances. On the other hand, synergies obtained using LDA are linear discriminant vectors that separate the groups of variances. In this paper, time varying kinematic synergies in the human hand grasping movements were extracted using these two diametrically opposite methods and were evaluated in reconstructing natural and American sign language (ASL) postural movements. We used an unsupervised LDA (ULDA) to extract linear discriminants. The results suggest that PCA outperformed LDA. The uniqueness, advantages, and disadvantages of each of these methods in representing high-dimensional hand movements in reduced dimensions were discussed.
PMCID: PMC4124789  PMID: 25143763
22.  Neuropsychological Testing and Structural Magnetic Resonance Imaging as Diagnostic Biomarkers Early in the Course of Schizophrenia and Related Psychoses 
Neuroinformatics  2011;9(4):321-333.
Making an accurate diagnosis of schizophrenia and related psychoses early in the course of the disease is important for initiating treatment and counseling patients and families. In this study, we developed classification models for early disease diagnosis using structural MRI (sMRI) and neuropsychological (NP) testing. We used sMRI measurements and NP test results from 28 patients with recent-onset schizophrenia and 47 healthy subjects, drawn from the larger sample of the Mind Clinical Imaging Consortium. We developed diagnostic models based on Linear Discriminant Analysis (LDA) following two approaches; namely, (a) stepwise (STP) LDA on the original measurements, and (b) LDA on variables created through Principal Component Analysis (PCA) and selected using the Humphrey-Ilgen parallel analysis. Error estimation of the modeling algorithms was evaluated by leave-one-out external cross-validation. These analyses were performed on sMRI and NP variables separately and in combination. The following classification accuracy was obtained for different variables and modeling algorithms. sMRI only: (a) STP-LDA: 64.3% sensitivity and 76.6% specificity, (b) PCA-LDA: 67.9% sensitivity and 72.3% specificity. NP only: (a) STP-LDA: 71.4% sensitivity and 80.9% specificity, (b) PCA-LDA: 78.5% sensitivity and 91.5% specificity. Combined sMRI-NP: (a) STP-LDA: 64.3% sensitivity and 83.0% specificity, (b) PCA-LDA: 89.3% sensitivity and 93.6% specificity. (i) Maximal diagnostic accuracy was achieved by combining sMRI and NP variables. (ii) NP variables were more informative than sMRI, indicating that cognitive deficits can be detected earlier than volumetric structural abnormalities. (iii) PCA-LDA yielded more accurate classification than STP-LDA. As these sMRI and NP tests are widely available, they can increase accuracy of early intervention strategies and possibly be used in evaluating treatment response.
PMCID: PMC3116989  PMID: 21246418
Schizophrenia; Schizophreniform; Schizoaffective; PCA; LDA; Biomarkers; Neuropsychology; MRI; Cross-validation; Diagnosis; MCIC
23.  Comparison of Supervised Classification Methods for Protein Profiling in Cancer Diagnosis 
Cancer Informatics  2007;3:295-305.
A key challenge in clinical proteomics of cancer is the identification of biomarkers that could allow detection, diagnosis and prognosis of the diseases. Recent advances in mass spectrometry and proteomic instrumentations offer unique chance to rapidly identify these markers. These advances pose considerable challenges, similar to those created by microarray-based investigation, for the discovery of pattern of markers from high-dimensional data, specific to each pathologic state (e.g. normal vs cancer). We propose a three-step strategy to select important markers from high-dimensional mass spectrometry data using surface enhanced laser desorption/ionization (SELDI) technology. The first two steps are the selection of the most discriminating biomarkers with a construction of different classifiers. Finally, we compare and validate their performance and robustness using different supervised classification methods such as Support Vector Machine, Linear Discriminant Analysis, Quadratic Discriminant Analysis, Neural Networks, Classification Trees and Boosting Trees. We show that the proposed method is suitable for analysing high-throughput proteomics data and that the combination of logistic regression and Linear Discriminant Analysis outperform other methods tested.
PMCID: PMC2675844  PMID: 19455249
mass spectrometry; Wilcoxon’s test; logistic regression; supervised classifications
24.  Investigating the Efficacy of Nonlinear Dimensionality Reduction Schemes in Classifying Gene- and Protein-Expression Studies 
The recent explosion in procurement and availability of high-dimensional gene- and protein-expression profile datasets for cancer diagnostics has necessitated the development of sophisticated machine learning tools with which to analyze them. While some investigators are focused on identifying informative genes and proteins that play a role in specific diseases, other researchers have attempted instead to use patients based on their expression profiles to prognosticate disease status. A major limitation in the ability to accurate classify these high-dimensional datasets stems from the ‘curse of dimensionality’, occurring in situations where the number of genes or peptides significantly exceeds the total number of patient samples. Previous attempts at dealing with this issue have mostly centered on the use of a dimensionality reduction (DR) scheme, Principal Component Analysis (PCA), to obtain a low-dimensional projection of the high-dimensional data. However, linear PCA and other linear DR methods, which rely on Euclidean distances to estimate object similarity, do not account for the inherent underlying nonlinear structure associated with most biomedical data. While some researchers have begun to explore nonlinear DR methods for computer vision problems such as face detection and recognition, to the best of our knowledge, few such attempts have been made for classification and visualization of high-dimensional biomedical data. The motivation behind this work is to identify the appropriate DR methods for analysis of high-dimensional gene- and protein-expression studies. Towards this end, we empirically and rigorously compare three nonlinear (Isomap, Locally Linear Embedding, Laplacian Eigenmaps) and three linear DR schemes (PCA, Linear Discriminant Analysis, Multidimensional Scaling) with the intent of determining a reduced subspace representation in which the individual object classes are more easily discriminable. Owing to the to the inherent nonlinear structure of gene- and protein-expression studies, our claim is that the nonlinear DR methods provide a more truthful low-dimensional representation of the data compared to the linear DR schemes. Evaluation of the DR schemes was done by (i) assessing the discriminability of two supervised classifiers (Support Vector Machine and C4.5 Decision Trees) in the different low-dimensional data embeddings and (ii) 5 cluster validity measures to evaluate the size, distance and tightness of object aggregates in the low-dimensional space. For each of the 7 evaluation measures considered, statistically significant improvement in the quality of the embeddings across 10 cancer datasets via the use of 3 nonlinear DR schemes over 3 linear DR techniques was observed. Similar trends were observed when linear and nonlinear DR was applied to the high-dimensional data following feature pruning to isolate the most informative features. Qualitative evaluation of the low-dimensional data embedding obtained via the 6 DR methods further suggests that the nonlinear schemes are better able to identify potential novel classes (e.g. cancer subtypes) within the data.
PMCID: PMC2562675  PMID: 18670041
Dimensionality reduction; bioinformatics; data clustering; data visualization; machine learning; manifold learning; nonlinear dimensionality reduction; gene expression; proteomics; prostate cancer; lung cancer; ovarian cancer; principal component analysis; linear discriminant analysis; multidimensional scaling; Isomap; locally linear embedding; laplacian eigenmaps; classification; support vector machine; decision trees; LLE; PCA
25.  Random Forest in Clinical Metabolomics for Phenotypic Discrimination and Biomarker Selection 
Metabolomic data analysis becomes increasingly challenging when dealing with clinical samples with diverse demographic and genetic backgrounds and various pathological conditions or treatments. Although many classification tools, such as projection to latent structures (PLS), support vector machine (SVM), linear discriminant analysis (LDA), and random forest (RF), have been successfully used in metabolomics, their performance including strengths and limitations in clinical data analysis has not been clear to researchers due to the lack of systematic evaluation of these tools. In this paper we comparatively evaluated the four classifiers, PLS, SVM, LDA, and RF, in the analysis of clinical metabolomic data derived from gas chromatography mass spectrometry platform of healthy subjects and patients diagnosed with colorectal cancer, where cross-validation, R2/Q2 plot, receiver operating characteristic curve, variable reduction, and Pearson correlation were performed. RF outperforms the other three classifiers in the given clinical data sets, highlighting its comparative advantages as a suitable classification and biomarker selection tool for clinical metabolomic data analysis.
PMCID: PMC3594909  PMID: 23573122

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